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Friday 28 March 2014

Toby Young’s Woman Problem

The loathsome Toby Young does enjoy sneering at women who have made it in the media: I’ve often told of his entrance – more than fashionably late – to the auditorium during the debate at the launch of the Huffington Post UK, to a chorus of booing, that Arianna Huffington clocked him immediately, and asked if he’d like to come up on stage, only for Tobes to slink off and sit down.
The reason Ms Huffington recognised Tobes so readily is that he has, in the past, written a copious amount of knocking copy about her. He has continued this genre with an attack on Tina Brown, who has also been far more famous than he is ever going to be, at the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs. “Tina Brown: a quarter of a billion dollars down the drain, and she still thinks she's a success” he told.

There was much carping about losses at Tatler, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, amid linking to the rather fuller article penned for the Spectator by Himself Personally Now. We hear about the Daily Beast, Talk magazine, there is the obligatory reference to the late L’Wren Scott, and the inference that Ms Brown’s latest venture, the Women In The World summit, will go the same way.

And all this might be entertaining to those who pay good money for the Speccy, but one has to wonder quite why Tobes is so fascinated with women losing money: I don’t recall him saying boo about the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos and his ability to obtain funding and then give every appearance of spraying it up the wall. But then, there is a good reason he is targeting Ms Brown.

Tina Brown is married to Harry Evans, former Times editor who has recently been heavily critical of much of the adverse reaction to the Leveson Inquiry and the idea that there should be properly independent press regulation. And we know what the stance of Speccy editor Fraser Nelson is on that one. So Tobes’ further knocking copy is just another attack on Leveson support, by proxy.

And if we’re going to talk about folks wasting hundreds of millions of their chosen currency units, then perhaps Tobes would like to consider the Free Schools programme of which he has been such a vocal supporter. While Government departments have generally had to make do with less money of late, Free Schools are awash with an increasing amount of cash.

In fact, the original budget of £450 million has now overshot by more than a billion quid, or in US Dollars, more than one and a half billion. The average cost per school, at £6.6 million, is twice the Treasury’s estimate. The number of failed Free Schools keeps on growing. So before Tobes shoots his mouth off at Tina Brown, he would do well to look first at his own back yard.

And think himself lucky Arianna Huffington didn’t have him thrown out.

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